The original Gully Boy Naved Shaikh, aka, Naezy recently launched his debut music album titled ‘Maghreb.’ His album comes out exactly 6 years after his first single Aafat was released on January 6, 2014, and went viral.
“Maghreb, means West and I am influenced by it. But my roots lie here in the east. It’s meant to elevate the hip-hop scene in India and educate people about what real hip hop really means,” Naved said while talking exclusively with News18.com.
Inspiration and Epiphany of his True Calling
It was after listening to Sean Paul’s Temperature, that the rapper was influenced to dig up more, leading him to rappers who were talking about the reality in life. That is when he realized rap could be used as an art form to communicate even an emotional message, leading him to do the conscious hip-hop.
He gets his pseudonym by joining his official name and crazy, since he was called so.
He further talked about what makes him write politically aware and aggressive lyrics and the rapper says, “It was at the age of 16-17, I was filled with sheer frustration and pissed at everything. My parents questioned me on everything and forced me to take up engineering, I would bunk college to do free style rapping and was scolded there too. The society wouldn’t accept what I wore. I was in a position where everyone was expecting something from me and underestimating my real talent.”
That’s when Naved decided to write down his frustration and 'self-launch' himself on the social media. He said, “I created my song and recorded the song on the IPad gifted by my dad who is in Dubai. He gave that to us for Skype calling.”
“Earlier, I wasn’t this confident because I wasn’t aware of how to carry myself and perform. But then I was proud of using Hindi, Urdu instead of English and my own slang. My craft gave me that push. I knew I was writing something which not everybody is doing with their pen. That was a booster,” he added.
Life Post Gully Boy
Him, along with Indian street rapper Divine, served as an inspiration to Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, which also went on to become India’s official entry in the 92nd Academy Awards for the Best International Feature Film.
Talking about his life post Gully Boy, he said, “People are looking at me in a different way. I have become more popular on the streets. My privacy has been snatched from me, I can’t roam around freely. But, things are changing for good as well. I am getting more opportunities and recognition in the industry by meeting new people and collaborating with the ones I always wanted to work with in my life.”
“I’m living in Bandra, have brought a Mercedes. It’s like living a dream. But it’s just the beginning. Gully Boy just gave us the recognition, now we have to build on that. That’s why I am working hard by creating more rap and pushing the hip hop brand forward,” he added.
We asked him if he would be willing to hit the silver screen himself someday and he said, “Yeah, why not? I want to play my own role! If it’s about a guy from my zone, the gully, the hood and relevant to my personality then I will do it.”
Using The Current Political Scenario as his Song’s Theme
Naved was raised as a troubled child and grew up in the impoverished working class called Ram Bachan Chawl, located in the neighbourhood of Kurla, Mumbai. Talking about the current political scenario in India and the rising tensions amidst the CAA protest, the rapper feels that the place he comes from has been ‘suffering since ages’ and have seen worst already. He said, “I think they have seen worse things than what is happening today. There’s nothing good happening, and things are just getting worse. Instead of helping them or giving them a good life, the system is just giving them more problems. I am raising my voice against whatever’s happening through my albums and songs. I am playing my role as an artists’ responsibility. I am hoping for the best and better things to happen.”
He mentioned that his rap ‘Maghreb’ says a lot about whatever happened to India, and Mumbai. “People are not reading newspapers, and living a happy ignorant life because they are not affected. We are trying to voice that through our music,” he said.
Putting his thoughts to words, his new album will have songs that shall help bring awareness about what is happening to people on the streets, and in their daily lives. “It’s a reflection of the society and issues that everyday people are facing. It’s all about today’s reality.”
“I have also mentioned about how people are celebrating the Gully Boy and the Gully culture but not the problems faced by the people in the Gully. I have made sure I bring all these issues in front of people and put light on what is happening in real,” he added.
YouTube as ‘not being enough’ to post Content
While the rapper started his journey with Youtube, Naezy believes that it’s a different game now with more and more platforms being available to post and promote one’s content on. “In today’s world, there are so many digital streaming platform and mediums like Tik Tok and Instagram. There are so many other ways to promote yourself and market your content. YouTube is not enough. Things have changed, it’s a different game and we are ready for it. Sometimes, I am also in rush to release songs but now I am giving it proper time,” he said.
Surprisingly, he confesses to not listening Hindi rap songs, not even his own. “I listen to only English raps. Biggy Smalls, Rakim, Kendrik Lamar, Immortal Technique are his favourite rappers,” he shared.
Watch his new song Maghreb here:
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